When a person dies and leaves their house in Florida for multiple adult children, it may result in ownership disputes between the new co-owners of the property. In the past, the only feasible solution would be filing for partition in court.
Recently, a new legislature introduced provisions to address the partition of inherited properties. Keep reading for an overview of Florida’s Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act.
Probate vs. Partition Action in Florida – An Introduction
When the owners of a jointly owned property cannot agree on how to use or manage the asset, one of the partial owners has the right to file a partition action.
It is not hard to find partition cases in Florida involving property inherited from deceased parents. While selling the property and distributing the proceeds among the heirs via partition may be a viable solution, Florida’s new legislature brought alternative solutions.
Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act Florida – Understanding the Concept
Forcing a sale through a partition action may be a problem if the property has been in a family for decades and one of the heirs wants to keep it. Chapter 64 of the Florida Statutes contains the rules governing partition within state jurisdictions.
Part I of Chapter 64 contains the general provisions related to the partition of property, such as the legal applicability, the parties entitled to file for partition, how to file a complaint, and the court’s judgment.
Part II of Chapter 64 contains the “Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act,” a new law created to address the partition of inherited property. The new legislature went into effect in July 2020, providing a new solution to keep inherited real property “in the family.”
As provided by Florida Statutes §64.203(1), the Act only “applies to partition actions filed on or after July 1, 2020.”
Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act Florida – Taking a Closer Look
Florida Statutes §64.202 (6) defines the term “heirs property” as “real property held in tenancy in common which satisfies all of the following requirements as of the filing of a partition action:
- There is no agreement in a record binding all the cotenants which governs the partition of the property
- One or more of the cotenants acquired title from a relative, whether living or deceased, and
Any of the following applies:
- Twenty percent or more of the interests are held by cotenants who are relatives,
- Twenty percent or more of the interests are held by an individual who acquired title from a relative, whether living or deceased, or
- Twenty percent or more of the cotenants are relatives”
Owners of jointly owned who are not relatives may not file an action under the Act. After identifying that the property meets the statutory requirements, a Florida court will determine the property’s value.
The court may order an appraisal issued by a disinterested appraiser. After valuing the property, the Act details how one or more co-tenants can buy out the interest of the other co-tenants.
The Act details the “cotenant buyout” method in Florida Statutes §64.207, describing the issue of notice, the deadlines involved in the process, the payment mechanism, and the court’s diligent supervision.
In short, the court will notify the interested co-tenants of an eligible property of their right to buy out the other co-tenants shares. Under the Act, the sale is only accomplished after the parties satisfy all the required statutory procedures (Fla. Stat. §64.207).